One day after Anaheim tried to set a world record by releasing 1.2 million balloons to commemorate Disneyland's 30th anniversary, word got back that large clusters of the balloons had been sighted 55 miles away in Hemet, a small town west of the San Jacinto Mountains with 29,000 residents.
But that was news to the folks in Hemet. Indeed, Hemet city and Chamber of Commerce officials said they hadn't spotted any of the balloons, which were released Thursday.
"I saw it, but on television," said Elaine Patterson, a secretary at the Chamber of Commerce.
So where did the balloons go? Most were expected to lose their helium and land in the Nevada desert, officials said.
Regardless, officials believe that Anaheim will easily be included in the next edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. The current record was set last November when 384,000 balloons were released in Japan.
The process of verifying the count began even before 2,300 volunteers gathered to fill the balloons. A committee of five Anaheim residents counted the balloons almost a week before the massive release, said Allan Hughes, a committee member.
When the balloons were moved to tents in the Disneyland parking lot, "we eyeballed them (again) at the site where they were going to be blown up," Hughes said.
The entire process was documented with videotapes and photographs, which will be turned over to Guinness officials, Hughes said.